Redseer report on India festive season sale turns controversial

11th October 2022
Redseer report on India festive season sale turns controversial
Image courtesy India SME Forum

October 11 2022: A report by  strategy consultants Redseer on this year’s festive sales in India has  turned controversial.
The report  Redseer’s Ecommerce Festive Season ‘22 report stated that Flipkart group remaied the e-commerce festival sales leader in India with 62% market share in gross merchandise value (GMV), based on data from the first week of sales. Amazon was placed second with a 26% market share in terms of GMV which refers to the total value of items sold.
Flipkart was also  rated  leader in terms of order volumes, Meesho emerged the second largest, capturing 21% of the market.
Amazon India responded by calling  the Redseer report "speculative which lacks transparency". The  consulting firm defended it as an independent research.
According to Business Insider, the e-commerce industry in India achieved $5.7 billion of online retail sales this year during the first week of festive sales, i.e 22 -30 September – which is a 27% year-on-year growth (for the first week of sales). E-commerce platforms in India usually hold three grand sales ahead of Diwali in India.The Festive Sale week 1 included sale events conducted by all online retail platforms between September 22-30. And for platforms that did not run a sale during any of these dates, the report had considered BAU (business as usual) order volumes. A total of 75-80 million shoppers placed orders across e-commerce platforms during the first week of the festive season, said the Redseer report.
Shriram Subramanian, Founder and MD, InGovern Research Services,commented  on the Redseer report:
While the Redseer report tries to provide insights into the online spend by customers and performance of various Ecommerce players, there seem to be many shortcomings in the research:

  • Methodology – The research methodology seems to lack rigour with very few data dimensions and data points. The number of data points used, like Consumer Surveys, Seller Surveys, Partner Surveys, Big Data Sources, etc are given as that for past one year and said that same approach was used for festive season.
  • Lack of Primary Data Points – While the report uses its own secondary research data dimensions, it does not include any primary data or any other data that has been sourced directly from the platforms.
  • GMV vs Volume - The study confuses the reader by using GMV and Volume. The right metrics should be GMV, net sales and profitability. Volumes, as a metric, is misleading as high volumes, low value items tend to be sold on Meesho compared to on Flipkart or Amazon, leading to distorted measure. If all other platforms accounted for only 12% of GMV spend, it is not clear how Meesho could have over 21% of order volume, while Amazon with over 26% of GMV spend is supposed to have lower order volume. Order volume is not a right metric.
  • Point Data versus Trend Data – as the report does not outline the market shares of the past years and of past sale periods, it is difficult to discern as to whether the data of this one week is a flash in the pan.

Adds Subramanian:"It is easy to fathom that majority of Indian ecommerce shopping spend would have been on high trust platforms like Flipkart and Amazon. Also, a bulk of traditional shopping happens during the Diwali sale period. With many of these platforms having extended sale periods and customers’ increasingly spending online and exploring new product categories, the future of Indian ecommerce is bright."
Related report on India SME Forum study: Majority of sellers choose e-commerce to increase sales during festive season (